“The Greatest Misery of Authorship”

I felt the blank incapability of invention which is the greatest misery of authorship, when dull Nothing replies to our anxious invocations….Everything must have a beginning, to speak in Sanchean phrase; and that beginning must be linked to something that went before….Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being the substance itself….Invention consists in the capacity of seizing on the capabilities of a subject, and in the power of moulding and fashioning ideas suggested to it.

~ Mary Shelley, Introduction to Frankenstein, 1831

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